Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
My overwhelming reaction to the game is that I want to vomit. Against a team that had lost 9 in a row and hadn’t scored more than one offensive touchdown in a game since September, the Lions laid a massive egg. The Cardinals blew out the visiting Lions thanks to several mindless gaffes by several Lions, incompetent repeated mistakes that appear to have no remedy or consequences from the overmatched coaching staff.
–DeAndre Levy did a great job manipulating Ryan Lindley into an INT in the first quarter. In shallow zone, Levy gave a faux step outside before darting in front of the intended receiver and making a nice diving pick. It’s a throw a good QB never considers, but Levy knew his enemy here.
–Lions defense clearly did film study. Twice they nailed Cardinals RBs in the backfield with well-timed run blitzes that were tipped off by formation. Justin Durant nearly took the handoff on one of those.
–Stafford settled down after (another) awful start, getting into rhythm and making more decisive, confident throws. The scoring drive that spanned from the first quarter into the second, it was as if a totally different quarterback was in the game.
–Mikel Leshoure proved once again to have a good nose for the end zone from the red zone. He followed a great seal block from Jeff Backus for his 9th touchdown of the season.
–Louis Delmas looked good in attacking the run, and he and the linebackers did a nice job making north-south tackles against Cardinals runners all day long. It was Rod Marinelli’s dream, linebackers flying all around without blockers in their way thanks to solid effort up front.
–The drive in the middle of the 4th quarter looked great. Stafford lofted a beautiful sideline bomb to Calvin Johnson, then found Tony Scheffler down the field to set up a red zone opportunity. Stefan Logan made a nifty run after catch to get the ball to the three. On the next snap Stafford hit Kris Durham on a nice back shoulder fade for an apparent TD, but that got wiped out.
–Although he got a ticky-tack penalty, Chris Houston fared well in his matchup against Larry Fitzgerald. He consistently used inside technique and effectively bought himself enough time that Lindley seldom looked his way.
–The safety play in coverage was much better than it has been. Aside from Delmas, Don Carey was consistently in the right spot over the top. The Cardinals completed just one pass that went farther than 10 yards all game.
–Stafford forcing the ball to Johnson early, and when Johnson wasn’t available he seemed rushed on throws to Scheffler and Durham, resulting in punts. Stafford was 0-for-6 on Detroit’s first three drives.
–Pat Lee not recognizing his place on the field, leading to Stefan Logan’s muffed punt that set up the Cards with 1st and goal from the five. The Cardinals scored on the next play on a strange situation with a goal-line fumble. As soon as referee Jerome Bogar announced it was a touchdown, Jim Schwartz immediately reached for his challenge flag. I’ve rewound it on the DVR five times and I swear to it. Mercifully he caught his mind before completely embarrassing himself.
–Jonte Green biting on a double move before Andre Roberts even made the first move. Thank God he got Roberts’ facemask as he raced past him uncovered down the sideline to force the incompletion. 15 yards is better than 68.
–The inability of the defensive ends to pressure Lindley in the first half despite facing two rookie tackles, both of whom rank in the bottom 10 of the league in terms of pass protection.
–Consecutive false start penalties after (another) ill-advised, negative return by Stefan Logan gave the Lions first and 13 from their own 3. Stafford forced a wild throw blindly towards Calvin Johnson that was a good five yards off target. Patrick Peterson picked it off and ran it back to the four. Beanie Wells scord two plays later to put the Cards up 14-7 with 3 minutes to go before halftime.
–Stafford locking into Scheffler early, and Cardinals safety Reshad Johnson making an easy pick six to push it to 21-7 just before halftime. It was a great defensive play, but Stafford facilitated it with poor fundamentals and laziness.
–The left side of the offensive line consistently lost the battles to the Cardinals defensive front. Calais Campbell dominated against both the run and pass, and I’m not sure LB Daryl Washington was encumbered by a block all day long.
–A delay of game penalty (good call) wiped out the Durham TD. On the next snap Stafford threw a terrible INT that was returned 102 yards by Greg Toler, who appeared to be the only player aware of where Stafford was throwing. It just might be the worst throw I’ve seen since Scott Mitchell’s pick-six on his first-ever NFL throw in relief of Dan Marino.
–Nick Harris continues to outkick his coverage and show no ability to directionally place the ball. The coverage units struggled. Again. Stefan Logan was worthless as a return man. Again.
Overall this was a flat-out embarrassment. It will be spared a lot of national attention because the Giants and Buccaneers were even worse, but this is the lowest the Lions have sunk in the post-Millen era. This is the sort of effort that demands recompense to the fans, whose patience with an increasingly overmatched coaching staff which is unable to instill discipline or fix ongoing issues has reached a breaking point. Nothing needs to happen until the offseason, but changes must be made. We’ll address how dramatic those changes need to be after the season, and so will Martin Mayhew.